What is Bkool and how does it work?
Bkool is a trainer app much like Strava or Rouvy, focussed on realism and training with a social aspect built-in too. What sets it apart from the rest of the trainer apps on the market are the huge variety of route options, as well as features like dynamic weather, headwinds and a night mode in your virtual ride.
You might have heard of the app recently as the Virtual Tour of Flanders saw a number of big names race the final 30km of the real-life 2020 route including the Kruisberg, Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg. Greg Van Avermaet won the race, while Remco Evenepoel and Wout Van Aert were among the other riders competing.
As well as the training focus and realism there's a social aspect too – you can create your own 'teams' to ride with, and there's also a voice chat to keep in touch with fellow riders. A points-based system grades the toughness of your rides, while unlockable kit and bike upgrades are available too – similar to Zwift.
How much is Bkool?
It's a pretty affordable app, with a premium subscription costing €9.99 (£8.72) per month, or even less if you go for the 12-month option – €96 (£83.73) a year instead of the €119.88 (£104.64) it'd cost otherwise.
There's the option to try before you commit too, with a 30-day free trial available upon signing up.
What do I need to get started?
Much like other indoor cycling apps, you'll need either a Mac, Windows, iOS or Android device to run the app and get started.
Linking up with a smart trainer is probably the best way to get up and running, though you can use a simple trainer with a power meter or heart rate monitor too. Obviously, with the first two options, you'll get full power readings versus an estimation on the latter.
You can get stuck into riding the countless routes straight away or pick from the various training plans and workouts on offer, too.
The app can be linked with all the usual training and analysis apps too, so you can send your data to the likes of Strava, Garmin Connect and TrainingPeaks if you want to keep on top of your workouts.
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All the courses and rides
Probably the main selling point of Bkool is the vast number of rides on offer. A quick look at the website and you'll find sections of WorldTour races like the Ardennes Classics, Paris-Roubaix, the GPs Québec and Montréal and more besides. Mountains such as the fearsome Angliru, Stelvio and Alpe d'Huez also feature, as do city rides in Sydney, New York, Lisbon and more.
Safe to say there's a ton of variety available, and you can choose from several ways to take in your ride, too. There's a basic overhead map option like you'd find on a head unit while you're out on the road, a video option so you can take in the real-world surroundings or a 3D view with virtual racers taking on a generated landscape.
You can even create your own virtual routes and upload them to use, converting them into 3D environments like those already available.
Aside from the virtual routes, there are plenty of pre-made workouts too, with Bkool citing "hundreds of hours" of sessions created by expert coaches on their website.